In 2010, after the Haitian Earthquake, Kindred and I decided it was time to pursue our long time desire to adopt. We had talked about it for years but decided it was time to actually DO something…not just keep talking about it. We spoke with our 3 children (at the time ages 2,4,6) about wanting to adopt. As best as they could understand, they were supportive. We began pursuing an adoption from Ethiopia. Our “plan” was to adopt a little toddler age girl. No more diapers, we thought, and no babies. Been there, done that 3 times. During the process- at my husband’s insistence- we got certified as foster parents as well. He just really believed that if there were children in the US who needed homes, we should start there. Long story short, we got a call about our sweet foster daughter- Nancy- and had to make a decision in about 5 minutes (before meeting her) if we would want to be her parents. Birth parent rights were just about terminated. This was going to be a “done deal.” We said yes, and piled our 3 kiddos into the minivan to drive an hour north to meet her. She was precious. Our 3 bio children fell in love with her immediately. I ran out and rented Chris Rock’s movie “Good Hair” so I could learn to do African American hair.
After 2 months with us, and her calling my husband “Daddy! Daddy!” she ended up being taken away from us. We were heartbroken. BUT, in our heartache we knew this was the confirmation we needed to pursue international adoption.
In the fall of that year, an email went out from our agency entitled: “Family Needed for Twin 4 Month old Baby Boys with Possible Special Needs.” Well, shoot. That was honestly my first response. But we wanted a GIRL! And just ONE at that. Funny how God’s plans are often so different from our own, huh? We knew these boys needed a home. Isn’t that why we wanted to adopt a child in the first place? To give someone a home who needed one? SO, we tentatively opened the email to learn more. The twins’ mother had died giving birth. One had survived meningitis, and the other was severely malnourished. We had their medical files reviewed by Dr. Aronson. Truthfully, she scared the pee out of us……but we still knew- no matter what may come, these were our boys.
On New Year’s Eve, 2010, we arrived home with our boys. They were so tiny- wearing newborn size clothes at 6 months old- and they could barely hold their heads up; but they were SO alert, and had the BIGGEST eyes you have ever seen! We began physical therapy and went through the gamut of medical testing. They began thriving. There were NO signs of any tissue damage on the MRI we had done on Asher (who had meningitis). The boys were inching their way onto the growth charts….what little miracles! God had taken care of these boys, and we knew he had a special plan for them.
After all of the medical testing and adoption expenses, we were really strapped financially. That is when we applied for the Promise686 Legal Grant. We were SO incredibly grateful to have been chosen to receive it! What a blessing it was to have the costs of the re-adoption of Sammy and Asher taken care of. And Christina was AWESOME to work with. What a financial load off of our shoulders. We will be forever grateful!!
But our story doesn’t end there…
In the summer of 2011, we got an email from a fellow adoptive mom who said there was a movie being filmed in Atlanta and they needed Ethiopian babies & children to be extras. Cool, we thought- what a great way to meet more Ethiopians! On a whim we sent in a picture of the twins. Immediately 2 people called us from the casting company, and then the casting director himself called. “I am very interested in the twins,” he said, “Can you meet me downtown today at 5pm?” Well, THAT is strange we thought…but maybe that is how they treat “extras.” We had NO idea. We went downtown, and he asked us to come back the next day to meet with the director and that if all went well we would need to be back downtown the next day to “spend some time with Jennifer Lopez, so she could get to know our children, and they could become familiar with her.”
“We’re sorry,” we said,” What movie is this? You want us to hang out with who?” Seriously. That is how it happened. You can see Sammy & Asher in theatres now making their big screen debut in “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” as J-Lo’s son she adopts from Ethiopia. We are hoping to be able to use the platform we have been given to be able to help raise awareness, not only about the incredible need for adoption, but also the desperate need for maternity care in countries like Ethiopia. You can follow along with Sammy and Asher’s journey at www.oursammyandasher.com.